13 September - 19 September 1941

13 September 1941

Berlin : The German OKW determined that Soviet prisoners of war would receive fewer rations than prisoners of other nationalities
Leningrad : General Georgy Zhukov arrived in Leningrad, Russia to replace Marshal Kliment Voroshilov as the commanding officer of the city’s garrison.
USSR : Chernigov , Ukraine fell to German forces
Norwegian Sea : Royal Navy Submarine HMS Tigris torpedoed and sank German manned Norwegian coastal steamer Richard With off Breisund, northern Norway.
Baltic Sea : Finnish coastal defense ship Ilmarinen struck a mine and sank in the Gulf of Finland; 271 were killed, 132 survived.
Atlanrtic Ocean : British cargo ship Bloomfield was bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe Condor aircraft


14 September 1941

Ukraine : German Army Group Center encircled two full Soviet Armies near Kiev, Ukraine
Leningrad Front : The German XXXXI Armeekorps (motorized) attacked Soviet positions southwest of Leningrad, Russia, while Soviet troops counterattacked into the flanks of the German assault.
he defence of Leningrad was now being directed by Marshal Zhukov, who, on September 14, ordered a counter-attack on the German positions at Schlüsselburg. When the local commander, General Shcherbakov, replied that ‘it simply could not be done’, he was removed from his command, together with his political commissar, Chukhov. Learning of desertions in the Slutsk—Kolpino section of the siege line, Stalin himself ordered the ‘merciless destruction’ of those who were serving as ‘helpers’ of the Germans. Order No. 0098 informed the defenders of Leningrad of executions carried out as a result of Stalin’s order. Two more outposts of the city were to fall on September 16, the town of Pushkin, and the city’s tramcar terminus at Alexandrovka; but the defence perimeter held. No German troops were to march along the city’s boulevards. With the imminent halt of the German advance on Leningrad, the city’s airport north of the Neva, to which Zhukov had flown on September 11, remained under Soviet control. Beginning on September 13, and ending two and a half months later, a total of six thousand tons of high-priority freight was flown in: 1,660 tons of arms and munitions and 4,325 tons of food.
Black Sea : Soviet cargo ship Moldovia was bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe bombers in Black Sea
Mediterranean Sea : Italian cargo ship Nicole Oderpo was bombed and sunk by RAF Wellington bomber aircraft off Libya

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15 September 1941

Leningrad Front : Soviet 8th and 42nd Armies clashed with the German XXXXI Armeekorps (motorized) southwest of Leningrad Russia on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Atlantic Ocean : Battle of Convoy ON-14 (Outbound North) started when Herman submarines discovered and gathered to attack to convoy. German submarine U-94 sank British ship Newbury at 0816 hours (all 45 aboard survived but were never seen again), Greek ship Pegasus at 2038 hours (16 killed after lifeboat capsized, 13 survived), and British ship Empire Eland at 2348 hours (all 38 survived but were never seen again) 800 miles west of Ireland
Tobruk , Libya : After sundown, Royal Navy destroyers HMAS Napier, HMAS Nizam, and HMS Havock set sail from Alexandria, Egypt to the besieged city of Tobruk, Libya with supplies; they would all return to Alexandria in the morning of the next day.
Ukraine : Soviet troops outside of Odessa, Ukraine withdrew southeast toward the city.
Germany : RAF bombers attacked the rail station at Hamburg, Germany.
Moscow : Stalin asks 25 to30 British divisions to fight in Eastern Front
Berlin : he German diplomat, Baron Ernst von Weizsäcker, noted in his diary, of his leader’s mood: ‘An autobahn is being planned to the Crimean peninsula. There is speculation as to the probable manner of Stalin’s departure. If he withdraws into Asia, he might even be granted a peace treaty.’ It was at this very time, in mid-September, Albert Speer later recalled, that Hitler ordered ‘considerable increases’ in the purchase of granite from Sweden, Norway and Finland, for the monumental buildings planned for Berlin and Nuremberg.
North Sea : British cargo ships Birtley and Daru were bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe aircraft.

16 September 1941

Leningrad : The German XXXXI Armeekorps successfully cut off the Soviet 8th Army in the Oranienbaum Pocket southwest of Leningrad, Russia after two days of fighting
Ukraine : German Generals Guderian and Kleist’s Panzer Groups linked up east of Kiev, Ukraine, encircling five Soviet Armies. Romanian troops captured the heights northwest of Gross-Liebenthal district of Odessa, Ukraine.
Berlin , Germany : Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel ordered execution of 100 Russians in reprisal for every German soldier killed by partisans
Paris , France : German occupation authorities executed ten French hostages in reprisal for attacks on German military. That same day, the German Ambassador to Paris, Otto Abetz, was at Rastenburg, where Hitler told him of his plans for the East. Leningrad would be razed to the ground; it was the ‘poisonous nest’ from which, for so long, Asiatic venom had ‘spewed forth’. The Asiatics and the Bolsheviks must be hounded out of Europe, bringing an end to ‘two hundred and fifty years of Asiatic pestilence’. The Urals would become the new frontier; Russia west of the Urals would be Germany’s ‘India’. The iron-ore fields at Krivoi Rog alone would provide Germany with a million tons of ore a month. From this economically self-sufficient New Order, Hitler assured Abetz, France would have its share; but must first agree to take part in the defeat of Britain.
Ukraine : Inside that “New Order”, a young German Army officer, Lieutenant Erwin Bingel, was at Uman on September 16. There, as he recalled four years later, he saw SS troops and Ukrainian militiamen murder several hundred Jews. The Jews were taken to a site outside the town, lined up in rows, forced to undress, and mowed down with machine gun fire. ‘Even women carrying children a fortnight to three weeks old, sucking at their breasts’, Bingel recalled, ‘were not spared this horrible ordeal. Nor were mothers spared the sight of their children being gripped by their little legs and put to death with one stroke of the pistol butt or club, thereafter to be thrown on the heap of human bodies in the ditch….’ Two of Lieutenant Bingel’s men suffered a ‘complete nervous breakdown’ as a result of what they saw. Two others were sentenced to a year each in a military prison for having taken ‘snapshots’ of the action. The two Operational Situation Reports that week, No. 86 of September 17 and No. 88 of September 19—No. 87 has never been found—gave the statistics of the unceasing slaughter: these were, in part, 229 Jews killed in Khmelnik, six hundred in Vinnitsa; 105 in Krivoi Rog, together with 39 Communist officials; 511 in Pilva and Staraya Sinyava; fifty in Tartu, together with 455 local Communists; 1,107 Jewish adults and 561 ‘juveniles’, the latter killed by Ukrainian militia, in Radomysl; 627 Jewish men and 875 ‘Jewesses over twelve years’ in Berdichev; and 544 ‘insane persons’ taken from the lunatic asylum in Dvinsk ‘with the assistance of the Latvian self-defence unit’. Ten of the inmates, judged ‘partially cured’, were sterilized and then discharged. ‘After this action,’ the Report concluded, ‘the asylum no longer exists.’
Damascus , Syria : Free French agreed with British to terminate mandate status and give independence to Syria after the war.
Mediterranean Sea : Italian submarine Smeraldo sank in the Mediterranean Sea to unknown cause, killing all 45 aboard.
Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-98 sank British ship Jedmoor of Allied convoy SC-42 100 miles northwest of Isle of Lewis, Scotland, United Kingdom at 2316 hours; 31 were killed, 5 survived.
Nova Scotia , Canada : Convoy HX-150 , the first convoy to be escorted by US Navy left the port en route to Britain. Royal Canadian Navy will escort the covoy till a certain point in Newfoundland then leave the escort duty to USN. They will escort the convoy till mid ocean meeting point southwest of Iceland where Royal Navy Western Approaches Command will take over the escort duty.


17 September 1941

Copenhagen , Denmark : At a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, German physicist Werner Heisenberg warned his mentor Niels Bohr that Germany had embarked on atomic weapon research and gave him a drawing of a reactor as proof. erman fission research was just a theory right now and will remain so for a long time.
Kiev , USSR : Following four days of urgent appeals from General Kirponos to Stalin that it would soon be too late to pull back his troops from the city and its surroundings, Marshal Timoshenko had authorized the withdrawal from Kiev. It was another forty-eight hours, however, before Stalin confirmed the order. STAVKA belatedly ordered a withdrawal from Kiev , Ukraine on 17th as German forces pierced outer defences of the city
Leningrad Front : The last assault by Field Marshal von Leeb on Leningrad failed to break through the city’s defences; that day, he had finally to begin the despatch of his tank forces to the Moscow front. ‘There will be a continuing drain on our forces before Leningrad,’ a worried General Halder noted in his diary on September 18, ‘where the enemy has concentrated large forces and great quantities of material, and the situation will remain tight until such a time when hunger takes effect as our ally’.
Tobruk , Libya : Australian 9th Division continued to be withdrawn from Tobruk, Libya. Relieving them was the British 70th Infantry Division, currently in Beirut in the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon awaiting transportation by British cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune, and HMS Hobart which had just departed from Alexandria, Egypt. After sundown, British minelaying cruiser HMS Abdiel and destroyers HMS Jervis, HMS Jaguar, and HMS Hasty made a roundtrip from Alexandria to Tobruk with supplies for the besieged city.
Europe : The first operation conducted by a British Mosquito aircraft was launched to take photographs of German-controlled ports
Rastenburg , East Germany : At Adolf Hitler’s Wolfsschanze headquarters in East Prussia, Germany, Erich Raeder once again asked Hitler for permission to attack American shipping; Hitler again rejected him. Hitler was still in optimistic mood on September 17, telling his guests at Rastenburg of the future demise of Russia. The Crimea would provide Germany with its citrus fruits, cotton and rubber: ‘We’ll supply grain to all in Europe who need it.’ The Russians would be denied education: ‘We’ll find among them the human material that’s indispensable for tilling the soil.’ The German settlers and rulers in Russia would have to constitute among themselves ‘a closed society, like a fortress. The least of our stable-lads must be superior to any native.’
Lithuania , Baltics : SS Report (issued on 1 Dec 1941) noted that 337 adult male, 687 adult female, and 247 children, all Jews, were killed in Vilnius, Lithuania for a total of 1,271 people. 4 Communists were also executed in Vilnius by Jager’s Einsatzgruppen on this date.
Belgrade , Yugoslavia : Belgrade was placed under artial law by German occupation forces due to recent attacks on German military. a British submarine, operating from Malta, landed a British agent, Colonel D. T. Hudson, on the Dalmatian coast, near Petrovac. He at once made contact both with Communist partisan leader Tito, and with the Cetnik leader, Mihailović. A week after Hudson reached Yugoslavia, Tito’s partisans, 70,000 men in all, but with few weapons and little ammunition, captured the town of Uzice, with its rifle factory producing four hundred rifles a day. They were to hold the town for two months. Resistance in Yugoslavia, as in Russia, had begun to harass and tie down considerable numbers of German troops.
Norwegian Sea : German cargo ship Johann Wessels struck a mine and sunk
Baltic Sea : Soviet cargo ships Kuivastu and Vastu were bombed and sunk by Luftwaffe aircraft. Soviet submarine P-1 struck a mine and sunk off Hanko , Finland.


18 September 1941

Washington , USA : US President Franklin Roosevelt requested US Congress to allocate US$1,500,000,000 for the Lend-Lease program.
Kiev , Ukraine : As the belated Red Army withdrawal from Kiev began, General Kirponos’s thousand-strong command column was ambushed and encircled. Hit by mine splinters in the head and chest, Kirponos died in less than two minutes. His armies fought bravely to escape the trap. Although 15,000 did succeed in breaking out, as many as half a million were taken prisoner. For the Red Army, it was a grave and massive loss of fighting strength. But the Germans were not without cause for concern of their own; that week it was announced from Berlin that 86,000 German soldiers had been killed since the invasion of Russia had begun three months earlier. German troops captured Poltava, Ukraine.
Mediterranean Sea : Based from decrypted Enigma dispatches , RAF aircraft located a convoy of three Italian troopships escorted by four destroyers from Taranto, Italy, sailing for Tripoli, Libya. Royal Navy submarines HMS Upholder, HMS Upright, HMS Ursula, and HMS Unbeaten were dispatched to attack. British submarines updated with latest ULTRA intelligence set up an ambush north of Tripoli , Libya. HMS Upholder torpedoed and sank both troopships Neptunia and Oceania over a four hour period about 70 miles east of Tripoli (384 killed, 6,500 survived), while HMS Ursula attacked troopship Vulcania unsuccessfully.
Tobruk , Libya : After dark, minelaying cruiser HMS Latona and destroyers HMAS Napier, HMS Havock, and HMAS Nizam sailed from Alexandria, Egypt and delivered supplies to the besieged garrison at Tobruk, Libya. They would return to Alexandria in the morning of the next day. HMAS Nizam was damaged on the return trip when she hit the wreck of Italian ship Serenitas at Tobruk.


19 September 1941

Atlantic Ocean : German submarine U-74 torpedoed and sank Canadian corvette HMCS Lévis of Allied convoy SC-44 125 miles east of Iceland at 0603 hours; 18 were killed, 40 survived). At 1433 hours, German submarine U-372 attacked the same convoy 100 miles east of Iceland, sinking British cargo ship Baron Pentland; (2 were killed, 39 survived)
Tobruk , Libya : Cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Neptune, and HMAS Hobart arrived in Alexandria, Egypt after delivering supplies to Tobruk, Libya and began to embark troops of the UK 70th Infantry Division
Ukraine : German troops captured Kiev, Ukraine, along with trapped 600,000 prisoners, 2,500 tanks, and 1,000 artillery pieces , five Soviet armies from Soviet Southern Front. Trapped in the open the Russian infantrymen fought with their customary stubbornness as German panzers hunted them down and JU-87 Stuka dive bombers of Lufwaffe blasted thweir strongpoints. But Russian troops are running food and ammunition and getting more disorganised each hour in Kiev pocket. The end can not be delayed any longer. Kiev itself became a shattered shell of once beautiful city littered with debrids of war and strippe bare of anything use for the invader. Power stations and water works were put out of action and thousands of time delayed bombs were left in the city to complate the destruction. Soviet light cruiser Voroshilov bombarded Axis troop positions near Sevastopol.
Leningrad Front : Leningrad suffered its worst air and artillery bombardment of the war, with 276 German bombers breaking through the city’s anti-aircraft defences. More than a thousand citizens were killed, including many who, already wounded, were in one of the city’s hospitals when it was hit.
Yugoslavia : Resistance leaders , communist partisan leader Tito and Chetnik leader Mihialovic met up to coodinate strategy but fail to agree on anything
Tehran , Iran : British and Soviet troops entered capital of Iran. This is the first time British and Soviet troops saw each other. British were impressed with quality of Soviet armour. Russians were suprised by British soldiers short trousers.
North Sea : British cargo ship Bradingen struck a mine and sunk in The Wash